SOUTH ROXANA — A Wood River man charged with five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse was in police custody Wednesday afternoon.
According to a press release from South Roxana Police Chief Bob Coles, on Aug. 4, the South Roxana Police Department received a complaint of child sexual abuse involving Cameron Niethe, aka Cameron Gaither, 20, of Wood River, at the Central Park Place Apartment in South Roxana. An investigation conducted by Officer Patrick Carrier revealed Niethe had inappropriate relations with girls ages 12-16 throughout Madison County.
Coles said Niethe used social media to target victims and would lie to their parents about his age, claiming to be much younger. Niethe used Facebook to approach and introduce himself to victims. He often falsely claimed to be in the military. According to Niethe, the illicit relationships with juveniles spanned several years.
Once he had established their trust, Niethe would introduce the victims to mobile apps such as Kik, SnapChat and Skype, where conversations of an adult sexual nature would occur, followed by either sending or receiving nude pictures or finding someplace to meet for sexual intercourse.
A search warrant executed on Niethe’s phone revealed numerous other juveniles Niethe had been in contact with either through Skype, Snapchat, Kik, or Facebook.
“A lot of the parents we had talk to had no idea about Cameron Niethe or their daughter’s involvement with him,” Coles said in the release. “The police department believes there are more juvenile victims who have yet to be identified.”
The Madison County Child Advocacy Center conducted eight interviews of minor female juveniles in regards to the investigation. The Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office Sexual Crimes Division worked with the police department throughout the investigation.
Niethe was charged Wednesday with five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse with a bond set at $150,000.
“With today’s social networking, if parents do not perform routine checks on their kids’ Internet activity, I would strongly suggest preventing them from having these social apps,” Coles said. “A picture has been included for parents to view and see if they recognize Niethe or to talk to their children to see if they have had contact with him.
“I recommend going through all of your child’s social media and if you don’t recognize the person or your child cannot explain how they know that person in real life, then remove that subject from having contact with your child,” he said.
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